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Google Indexes Invite Links To Private Group Chat on WhatsApp With a Simple Search

According to app reverse-engineer Jane Wong, Google has around 470,000 results for a simple search of "chat.whatsapp.com", part of the URL that makes up invites to WhatsApp groups

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According to a report in Motherboard, invitations to WhatsApp group chats were being indexed by Google. Pixabay

 Google has indexed invite links to private WhatsApp group chats, meaning anyone can join various private chat groups (including several porn-sharing groups) with a simple search.

According to a report in Motherboard, invitations to WhatsApp group chats were being indexed by Google.

The team found private groups using specific Google searches and even joined a group intended for NGOs accredited by the UN and had access to all the participants and their phone numbers.

Journalist Jordan Wildon said on Twitter that he discovered that WhatsApp’s “Invite to Group Link” feature lets Google index groups, making them available across the internet since the links are being shared outside of WhatsApp’s secure private messaging service.

“Your WhatsApp groups may not be as secure as you think they are,” Wildon tweeted on Friday, adding that using particular Google searches, people can discover links to the chats.

According to app reverse-engineer Jane Wong, Google has around 470,000 results for a simple search of “chat.whatsapp.com”, part of the URL that makes up invites to WhatsApp groups.

Google
Google has indexed invite links to private WhatsApp group chats, meaning anyone can join various private chat groups (including several porn-sharing groups) with a simple search. Pixabay

WhatsApp spokesperson Alison Bonny said: “Like all content that is shared in searchable public channels, invite links that are posted publicly on the internet can be found by other WhatsApp users.”

“The links that users wish to share privately with people they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website,” Bonny told The Verge.

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Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liaison, tweeted: “Search engines like Google & others list pages from the open web. That’s what’s happening here. It’s no different than any case where a site allows URLs to be publicly listed. We do offer tools allowing sites to block content being listed in our results.” (IANS)

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WhatsApp Limits Frequency of Forwarding Messages

WhatsApp limits frequently forwarding messages to 1 chat at a time

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WhatsApp
WhatsApp announced to introduce a new limit on frequently forwarding messages where a WhatsApp user can forward such messages to one chat at a time. Pixabay

In a bid to curb the flow of misinformation in COVID-19 times, Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced to introduce a new limit on frequently forwarding messages where a WhatsApp user can forward such messages to one chat at a time.

This limit kicks in once a message has been previously forwarded five times or more, the company said in a statement.

The chat-app, which has over 400 million users in India last year introduced users to the concept of messages that have been forwarded many times.

These messages are labeled with double arrows to indicate they did not originate from a close contact. In effect, these messages are less personal compared to typical messages sent on the app.

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“We are now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time,” the company said in a statement.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp is working with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information. Pixabay

The company said it bans two million accounts per month for attempting to send bulk or automated messages.

The social media app set global limits on forwarded messages to constrain virality in January last year where it restricted forwarding messaging to five times from an individual or a group.

“We set limits on forwarded messages to constrain virality which led to a 25 per cent decrease in message forwards globally at the time,” informed WhatsApp.

In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers.

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“However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation,” WhatsApp noted, adding that it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.

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The chat-app is working with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information.
It has also announced the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub. (IANS)